Dr. Marchenko’s story: Growing in confidence with CLIMB

 

Since the launch of CLIMB in 2020, 113 women from 41 countries have taken part in the program; growing their skill sets and developing relationships with industry partners. Oksana Marchenko, MD is one of them.

Growing up in a family of geophysicists in the suburbs of Kyiv, Ukraine, Dr. Marchenko would play ‘toy hospital’ with her friend, treating their dolls with syringes and tweezers. Fast forward several years and she found herself pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. In 1999, Dr. Marchenko began her Bachelor’s degree at P.I. Gavros Kyiv Medical College, moving to Kyiv Medical University for her Masters. While studying, she was inspired by photo essay “Thoughts and the Heart” by Nikolai Amosov, leading her to a career in cardiology.

Dr. Marchenko first worked in the cardiac intensive care unit at Kyiv’s Main Military Clinical Hospital. As she progressed, she gained experience in a range of departments; Cardiac Arrhythmias, Planning Cardiology and Congenital and Acquired Heart Disease in Adults and Adolescents. While achieving a medical career, she also aspired to conduct research, particularly in the field of coronary heart disease. In 2018, she started postgraduate study at the Shupyk National Healthcare University of Ukraine and began to research new indices in biochemical markers and echocardiography.

Early in 2021, Dr. Marchenko was looking for additional opportunities to continue her development. After a colleague shared information about Women as One on LinkedIn, she decided to investigate further. She quickly realized that the opportunities provided through Women as One could help her achieve her goals, so she signed up in the Talent Directory. Shortly afterwards, she learned about the CLIMB program and its intent to advance women in procedural specialities.

“I watched session recordings from CLIMB 2020 in the Talent Directory and realised that CLIMB was a program through which I could gain knowledge and new professional skills – both things that I wanted to do to help me grow in my cardiology career. I also wanted to expand my professional network and meet like-minded people from around the world. The program looked like it would be extremely useful for my day-to-day medical practice, so I decided to apply!”

On acceptance in to the 2021 ‘CLIMB Structural’ learning track, Dr. Marchenko joined a class of global participants and expert faculty including Dr. Rebecca Hahn, Dr Marta Sitges, Dr. Darren Mylotte and Dr Molly Szerlip. The six-month virtual program centered around informative presentations, case-based learning and small group discussion.

“The case studies were interesting to discuss within the group because I was gaining the advice of world-renowned experts, which I was then able to apply into difficult cases I came across in my day-to-day practice. I was also presenting, in a foreign language, to world leaders in cardiology! I was nervous, but that quickly passed because the atmosphere in the sessions was so friendly and comfortable. We felt like a group of best friends – it was an incredible six months.”

Dr. Marchenko began growing in confidence and applying the skills she learned within the CLIMB program right away in her work at the Ukrainian Children’s Cardiac Center Adult Clinic in Kyiv. Taking advice and learnings from her track directors, Dr. Hahn and Dr. Sitges, she learned skills she could apply in her daily practice. One such example includes methods she learned to improve visualization during TEE, such as positioning and movement to check perpendicularity.

Summarising her experience of the program, Oksana Marchenko MD stated, “CLIMB gave me so much more than I expected. Being part of a community of like-minded doctors, the international Heart Team, who support you, advise you and encourage you to be the best version of yourself was so valuable. CLIMB has helped me in so many ways, and is something I would definitely encourage other physicians to take part in.”


Women as One is a non-profit organization that provides talented women physicians with unique professional opportunities. By doing this, we aim to build a more inclusive, diverse and just workforce in medicine.

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